In explaining why, despite the uproar surrounding the Breitbart editor, Yiannopoulos was invited to the show, Maher said, “I think you’re colossally wrong on a number of things… if I banned everyone from my show who I thought was colossally wrong, I’d be talking to myself.”
Maher – who at one point compared Yiannopoulos to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno character – and Yiannopoulos also discussed what they have in common: Their belief in free speech and the fact they’ve both been banned from the University of California. “We have both been disbarred at Berkeley,” Maher said before Yiannopoulos interjected, “Much more dramatically, I’d just like to say. They just disinvited you. I had riots. People got beaten up.”
After making disparaging remarks about Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer and how they’ve become the face of the Democratic party, Yiannopoulos admitted, “I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll.”
Yiannopoulos’ appearance on Real Time was so controversial that guest Jeremy Scahill, who was booked on Friday’s episode, dropped out because Maher offered Yiannopoulos “a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign.”
In a statement following Scahill’s cancellation, Maher said, “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech. If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims — and he might be — nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.”
On Real Time Friday, Maher and Yiannopoulos briefly touched on Scahill’s absence. “Stop taking the bait, liberals. The fact that they all freaked out about this little impish British fag,” Maher told the audience.
Maher then read some borderline racist, troll-esque jokes from the mouth of Joan Rivers, a comedian who was universally revered despite her predilection for provocative, offensive humor.
However, the conversation or debate never really found its footing, as each question Maher asked resulted in a meandering Yiannopoulos response that forced Maher to reposition and bring up something new, resulting in another unanswered question. Just when Maher stumbled on Yiannopoulos’ most paradoxical position – his unabashed love of Donald Trump – the 10-minute interview concluded before the audience could get an explanation.
Yiannopoulos also took part in the “Overtime” segment where he butted heads with panelist Larry Wilmore over transgender rights: